Richest CelebritiesActors
Net Worth:
$5 Million
Date of Birth:
Dec 19, 1924 - Jan 28, 2021 (96 years old)
Place of Birth:
5 ft 3 in (1.61 m)
United States of America
💰 Compare Cicely Tyson's Net Worth

What was Cicely Tyson's Net Worth?

Cicely Tyson was an American actress who had a net worth of $5 million at the time of her death in 2021. During her iconic career, Cicely won three Emmy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Tony, a Peabody and an honorary Academy Award. She began her professional career as a model. She then branched out into film work in the mid-50s, with a small role in the film, "Carib Gold". From there, she began working on television, appearing on "East Side/West Side" and "The Guiding Light". She began to gain widespread notice for her work in the 1961 Off-Broadway production of "The Blacks", which ran for 1408 performances. This led to more high profile projects, and she appeared in such films as "A Man Called Adam", opposite Sammy Davis, Jr., and starred in "The Comedians". She became a household name for her Oscar-nominated performance in "Sounder" in 1972, and then went on to win two Emmy Awards for her performance in "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman", two years later. In 2011 she appeared in  "The Help". In 2012 she appeared in "Alex Cross". Between 2015 and 2020 she appeared in the series "How to Get Away with Murder".

Early Life

Cicely Tyson was born on December 19, 1924 in New York City. She grew up in East Harlem with her two siblings and parents Fredericka and William. Her mother was a domestic worker while her father worked as a carpenter and painter. Her parents were immigrants from Nevis in the West Indies and her father had arrived in New York City when he was 21 years old.

Tyson was raised in a religious household. She sang in the choir and attended prayer meetings at an Episcopal church in East Harlem. Initially, her mother was opposed to Tyson becoming an actress but eventually changed her mind after she saw Tyson appear on stage.


Tyson began her career as a fashion model after a photographer for "Ebony" magazine discovered her. He first acting role did not come until 1956 when Tyson was 32 years old. She landed a bit part in the film "Carib Gold." Two years later, she appeared on stage for the first time in a production of "Dark of the Moon" at the Harlem YMCA. She landed small roles in the films "Odds Against Tomorrow" and "The Last Angry Man" in 1959 and then in "Who Was That Lady" in 1960. In 1961, she made her television debut in the NBC series "Frontiers of Faith."

In the early 1960s, Tyson appeared in the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet's "The Blacks." She starred as character Stephanie Virtue Secret-Rose Dip. The play also featured cast members like Maya Angelou, James Earl Jones, Godfrey Cambridge, Louis Gossett Jr., and Charles Gordone. The show was the longest running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, running for a total of 1,408 performances. Tyson also appeared in the off-Broadway production of "Moon on a Rainbow Shawl," for which she won the Vernon Rice Award, now known as the Drama Desk Award, in 1962.

In 1963, she was cast in the CBS series "East Side/West Side." She was, at the time, the only African-American regular member of the television series cast. In the mid-1960s, she had a recurring role in the soap opera "The Guiding Light." She also appeared in the films "A Man Called Adam," "The Comedians," and "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter."

In 1972, Tyson starred in the film "Sounder." For her performance, she was nominated for both the Academy Award and Golden Award for Best Actress and won the NSFC Best Actress and NBR Best Actress Awards. A couple years later, in 1974, she played the title role in the television film "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" in which she portrays a black woman's life from slavery until her death before the Civil rights movement. She won a Primetime Emmy Award for her work in the film.

Cicely Tyson

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Throughout the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s, Tyson's career continued to develop. She appeared in the 1977 miniseries "Roots," for which she was nominated for another Primetime Emmy. She also appeared in the 1978 miniseries "King," the 1981 film "The Marva Collins Story," and the 1986 film "Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story."

Some of her later appearances include roles in "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Hoodlum," "A Lesson Before Dying," "The Help," and in the play "The Trip to Bountiful." For her work in the latter production, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play in 2013. She also appeared in "The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia," "How to Get Away with Murder," and "Fall From Grace."

Over the course of her career, Tyson won an Academy Honorary Award, three Emmy Awards, and a Tony Award. She was honored at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2016, among numerous other honors.

Personal Life and Death

When Tyson was 18 years old, she married Kenneth Franklin in 1942. They had a daughter together two months later in February of 1943. After less than eighteen months of marriage, Franklin abandoned Tyson. However the marriage was not formally dissolved until 1956. Tyson began dating jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in the 1960s while he was in the process of divorcing dancer Frances Davis. A photo of Tyson can be seen on the cover of Davis' 1967 album, "Sorcerer." The couple had intended to marry but Davis instead married singer Betty Davis. However, Tyson and Davis rekindled their relationship in 1978 and were married in November of 1981. The marriage was tumultuous due to Davis' temper and infidelity, though Davis does credit Tyson with helping him overcome his cocaine addiction. The couple resided in Malibu, California and also in New York City until Tyson filed for divorce in 1988, which was finalized in 1989.

In January of 2021, Tyson published a memoir entitled "Just as I Am." She had spent the weeks leading up to the book's release promoting it. On January 28 of that year, she died at the age of 96. Her funeral was held in at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and was attended by such notable guests as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Lenny Kravitz, and Tyler Perry, among others. She was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx with her former husband, Miles Davis.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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